an image of some pajamas!


php and javascript advanced md5 authentication system

The connexion between "pajamas", which is an acronym for "php and javascript advanced md5 authentication system" and an actual pair of "Pyjamas" is that when you feel secure, you sleep better. Of course the words sound identical, too.

pajamas began as an attempt to create a more secure login using client-side hashing, which is one-way encryption, and as a demonstration, mainly for other web-coders, to two enormous security holes in all-too-common existence..

The first exists when folk use "public" browsers. Often the username and password are stored on the machine, and can be re-used, even by accident, by other members of the public. Clearly this presents a problem, and one which, for some reason, most people like to forget and/or ignore. Probably, like me, they realized it would need to be done with JavaScript, and then ran in the opposite direction.

The second hole is more obvious, and that is the plain text password travelling freely across the wires. This one has received more worldwide attention, but it's still ignored in most php web applications. There are literally hundreds of articles out there describing how to store a user's password using all manner of weird and wonderful algorithms, to protect it from "unauthorised database access", or "unauthorised server access", and yet still expecting the password to arrive in plain text. GUYS!

If your database isn't secure you are in trouble. Same for your filesystem. These are places over which you have control. The place where you certainly don't have control, ever, is the internet. And the moment that packet of data leaves the user's presumably safe environment it's fair game. Its contents could be stored on any one of the many nodes between server and client, dubious proxy "servers" could scan it, on poorly configured servers (most) passwords will show up on other server's referrer logs, etc. There it is, your plain-text password, travelling around the internet in a bundle of other useful plain text information, like the URL of the so-called secure login page, probably your username. No! This is insane!

pajamas takes an entirely different approach. The password is securely hashed before being sent over the wires. Now, not only is interception no longer a problem (it's impossible to retrieve the password from the hash in the given time-frame, even a very much longer time-frame), but public browsers can't save or cache it, either*, being a one-shot mish-mash of your password and some random generated string. Each time you login, it's completely different.

With pajamas, the only places the password ever exists in the clear are in your presumably secure server environment, and the presumably secure user's brain. This password is only protecting access to this server's content; ergo, breaching the web server breaches the user's "protected" data, anyway. To my reckoning, it would be considerably more difficult to compromise a modern web server and get root, than it is to search some log for the phrase "password".

Which strategy is best? You decide.

Since its birth back in 2004, pajamas spent quite a long time lying fairly dormant, yet working away quietly in the background as a highly useful authentication script. More recently, pajamas has grown into a rather neat modular authentication system, and the old "pj" module has essentially become one of its plug-ins. There's also a "plain" plugin that retains many of the good features of pj, but without the client-side hashing, for situations where JavaScript isn't available (On The Moon, maybe!). pj's client-side hashing is made possible with the excellent JavaScript functions provided by Paul Johnston's javascript MD5 code.

You can enjoy my wee "protected" image gallery, and try-out pajamas at the same time, here.
If you'd like to ask questions, give feedback, enlighten me, etc, you can do that at the bottom.

There is also a sha1 pajamas plug-in called "shaggie", which is currently available only inside my other packages (e.g. the distro machine), feel free to download and play around with it; get back to me if you find any issues, thanks.

Here's the current pajamas code..
(of course, most of the good stuff is inside the modules!)
<?php // ۞// text { encoding:utf-8 ; bom:no ; linebreaks:unix ; tabs:4sp ; }
if (realpath ($_SERVER['SCRIPT_FILENAME'] )   ==   realpath __FILE__ ))  {
source_dump(__FILE__); }

    modular authentication system

    For full details, usage instructions, etc, see the accomanying readme.
    If you you got this without a readme, check out the link below.

    If you need help, mail me @, or if you think a solution to your
    issue would be valuable to others, drop a comment on the pajamas page..

    Have fun!

    ;o) Cor

    ps..    Big thanks to PCheese for all the help with the OOP.
            d00D! I get it now!  And I hope you like where I took it. ;o)

    (c) 2004->tomorrow! ~ cor + ;o)

    Please view the license for this free software, here:


    pajamas authentication..

class pajamas {


    Currently, we have the bare bones of the thing, and it works great!
    There may yet be bugs, and all bug reports are wholeheartedly welcomed.

var $_version            '0.3';

/*        public properties..        */

    default module

    (string)    name of module file (minus .php extension)

        current choices are 'plain' or 'pj' (the best)

        If, for some insane reason, you don't have access to a JavaScript-
        capable browser, use 'plain', otherwise, use 'pj'.

        the plain module can be configured in exactly the same way as
        the pajamas module, and has many of its features, too; sessions, IP
        check, time-out, etc., the only difference being that the password is
        sent over the wire in plain text.

        Though unlike HTTP basic authentication, which send the password with
        every single request, with the plain module, the password travels over
        the wires one time only.

var $_default_module    'pj';


    (string)    default: 'password';

        a quick and dirty way to store your password..

        or you could keep it in a database, or include from another file,.
        include '/some/other/place/config.php'; and set it externally..

            $auth->_login_password = 'MyPassword';

        Passwords are case-sensitive.

var $_login_password    'password';

    IP address check?

    boolean (true/false)    default: true;

        normally, we check the IP address of the authorising browser. However, if the user
        is behind a proxy farm (very unusual), this will break his session, as his IP will
        change with (possibly) each request. If you have users behind proxy farms, (or you
        are) set this to false, or else advise them to use *yet another* proxy (two proxies).

var $_check_ip          true;

    do time-out?

    boolean            default: true;

        we can specify a time-out for the session.  if you set this to false,
        the session is live until the client's browser is quit, or they log out.

var $_do_time_out       true;


    integer    (in minutes)     default: 60;

        an hour is reasonable, anything goes. the demo uses 0.5 (30 seconds)

var $_session_time      60;

    big luser

    integer    (max failed attempts)     default: 10;

        they tried and tried, but it just isn't happening. Or else they are taking the p*ss.
        A script perhaps, some brute force. Whatever, it would probably be best for everyone
        if we halted them in their tracks after how many failed login attempts?

var $_big_luser         10;

    kick bad users?

    boolean (true/false)    default: false;

        optionally we can prevent even correct logins from browsers that repeatedly sent bad logins..

        If you set this to true, after($_big_luser) failed login attempts, the property
        "$auth->_bad_user" will be set to true. Now, even a correct login will fail to authenticate.

        You can check for bad users, and then do what you like with them..

            if ($auth->_bad_user) { die('go away!');

        If you leave kick_bad_users set to false, a correct login will override all previous bad logins.

        The idea is, someone may be attempting to login from your terminal, and fail, so they receive
        a message informing them of the futility of it, *hopefully* they will stop now. If the *real*
        admin comes along, he should be able to log straight in, and shouldn't have the inconvenience
        of restarting the browser just because some twat was fooling around. But you can disable this
        behaviour by simply setting this to true.

var $_kick_bad_users    false;

    show error messages?

    boolean (true/false)    default: true;

        pj generates some messages for the various error conditions, you can use these however
        you like, and latest message is always in "_auth_message"

        If you like, you can have pj display these messages just above the login form,
        so the user is aware that their password was incorrect, or whatever..

var $_do_messages       true;

    create containing forms?

    boolean (true/false)    default: true;

        If you are already inside a form, set this to false to avoid nesting forms,
        which will break xhtml valiadation, among other things (including the md5)..

            $auth->_createForms = false;

        Remember you can also pass "true" to your form input function, to have a
        simple, div-less output, like this..

            echo $auth->getLoginForm(true);

var $_createForms       true;


    boolean (true/false)    default: true; (doesn't validate, but hey!)

        a good, mostly supported proprietary Internet Explorer property.

        This will break strict xhtml validation (which is annoying), but you may feel
        that it's worth it. With this set to true, browsers will not annoy you to try
        and save the password (which, at least with the 'pj' module, is a one-shot
        mish-mash that will become useless the instant you logout).

        It will only break your xhtml validation until you login, of course.

        Set this to true to add 'autocomplete="off"' to your password field. TADA!
        One of the rare occasions where Internet Explorer leads the way! If you are
        obsessed with strict xhtml 1.0 validation, screw your users and set this to

        btw: if you known an xhtml-friendly way to do this, MAIL ME! ;o)

var $_no_autocomplete    true;

    code loaction.

    (string)    default: '';

        Some modules may require included code.

        In "pj", this sets the default location of javascript MD5 functions file and
        will be used to create the <script> tag that includes the JavaScript MD5
        functions on your page, like this..

            echo $auth->getAuthCode();

        You can override the location by setting this..

            $auth->_code_location = 'inc/md5.js';

        *before* you echo the code. relative or absolute paths are fine, just like a
        regular javascript include.

var $_code_location        '';

    a simple error catcher.
    boolean (true/false)    default: true;

        session errors of level "E_NOTICE" (type 8) will be caught and stored,
        rather than spew onto your page. use..

            echo $auth->getErrors();

        to see them, or pipe that somewhere else. essentially this saves having
        your pages all messed up when you are testing your pj implementation on
        a server with error level E_ALL set (all development servers, yeah?),
        mainly for "session already started" type errors. It was annoying!

        we throw errors into a global variable because a) I use this system for
        errors anyway, (my debug script throws me a pop-up if it finds anything in
        $GLOBALS['errors'], and b) variables inside error handlers are a disaster!

var $_error_catcher        true;


        Private properties.

        You shouldn't change anything above either;
        set it externally like so..

        $auth->_do_time_out = false;

var $_auth_message        '';
$_auth_module        ''// a pointer to *real* auth class
var $_bad_user            false;
$_default_uid        'pajamas';
$_is_authenticated  null;    // start out in unknown (unset) state
var $_module_loaded        false;
$_modules_path        'modules/';
$_interface            'advanced';    // 'advanced' or 'simple'

    // constructor..
function pajamas ($uniqueid='') {
        if (!empty(
$uniqueid) and ctype_alnum($uniqueid)) {
$this->_unique_id $uniqueid;
        } else {
$this->_unique_id $this->_default_uid;
        if (
$this->_error_catcher) {

authModule() {

$this->_auth_module = new authModule($this->_unique_id);

// setup its preferences..
        // (we could perhaps check module's capabilities and only set those)
if ($this->_interface != 'simple') {
$this->_auth_module->_login_password        $this->_login_password;
$this->_auth_module->_check_ip                $this->_check_ip;
$this->_auth_module->_do_time_out            $this->_do_time_out;
$this->_auth_module->_session_time            $this->_session_time;
$this->_auth_module->_big_luser                $this->_big_luser;
$this->_auth_module->_kick_bad_users        $this->_kick_bad_users;
$this->_auth_module->_do_messages            $this->_do_messages;
$this->_auth_module->_createForms            $this->_createForms;
$this->_auth_module->_no_autocomplete        $this->_no_autocomplete;
$this->_module_loaded true;

auth_user() {

        if (!
$this->_module_loaded) { $this->authModule(); }
        if (
$this->_is_authenticated) { return true; }

$auth_status $this->_auth_module->auth_user();
$this->_auth_message $this->_auth_module->_auth_message;

        if (
$auth_status) {
$this->_is_authenticated true;
        } else {
$this->_is_authenticated false;

getAuthCode() {
// this will need to load before authentication,
        // so we set it here, and now overriding works as expected.
$this->_auth_module->_code_location    $this->_code_location;
$html $this->_auth_module->getAuthCode();
        if (!empty(
$html)) { return $html; }
            else { return 
''; }

getLoginForm($simple=false) {

getLogoutButton($simple=false) {

getSelf() {

getBadUser() {

remainingTime() {
        if (
$this->_do_time_out) {
$now explode(' ',microtime());
$time $now[1].substr($now[0],2,2);
settype($time'double'); // 100th/second..
return (($this->_session_time 6000) - ($time $_SESSION['auth'.$this->_unique_id]['login_at'])) / 100;
        } else { return 
false; }

    a simple session error catcher..
function getErrors() {
        if (!empty(
$GLOBALS['errors']['pajamas'])) {
startErrorHandler() {
handle_error($type$string$file$line$vars) {
        switch (
            case (
$type == and stristr($string'session')): // doesn't look so clever with only one case!
if (empty($GLOBALS['errors']['pajamas'])) { $GLOBALS['errors']['pajamas'] = ''; }
$GLOBALS['errors']['pajamas'] .= 'NOTICE! session error on line '.$line.' of '.$file.': '.$string;
// *ahem*
false// better let php handle this one.

// end class pajamas()

class pajamasSimple extends pajamas {

pajamasSimple($uniqueid='') {

        if (!empty(
$uniqueid) and strstr($uniqueid'-')) {
$simple_prefs explode('-'$uniqueid);
$uniqueid trim($simple_prefs[0]);
            if (!empty(
$simple_prefs[1])) { $my_module trim($simple_prefs[1]); }
$this->_interface 'simple';

        if (!empty(
$my_module)) { $this->_default_module $my_module; }
        if (!
$this->_module_loaded) { $this->authModule(); }

        if (!empty(
$this->_auth_module->_code_location)) {
$this->_code_location $this->_auth_module->_code_location;

        if (
$this->_auth_module->auth_user()) {
        } else {



    version history

    fixed bug, not passing variables through to getLogoutButton() and getLoginForm()

    first public release of pajamas engine

    basic authentication module loader. almost works.



have fun!


At least, this is the expected behaviour - currently, as far as I know, Opera saves the *typed* password, rather than the *sent* password, effectively defeating all forms of client-side password hashing strategy, dudes! - I've figured out a way around this, by the way, which will hopefully hit the code stage for my upcoming "shaggie" pajamas module. Take it easy!

Welcome to the comments facility!

previous comments (four pages)   show all comments

cor - 08.06.08 3:22 pm

What stops someone reverse-engineering your system by looking at the source code of the page?

You can even look at the source code for the pajamas package itself; it won't help you reverse engineer anything; there's nothing to reverse-engineer, MD5/SHA1/etc. are one-way cryptographic functions. The code is already well-known.

And what happens when a cracker accesses your raw filesystem via URL injection?

My first response to this is.. stop talking nonsense! However, you may know something I don't; so if you tell me exactly how this attack is crafted, and how you could access my raw file system with it, I may amend my response.

;o) Cor

ps. I've uploaded a file /inc/db/.ht_secrets - please use your attack and tell me the password contained in that file. Cheers!

Frosty - 10.07.08 10:18 pm

um, a bit of help please? When ever I use the PJ theme (which is the one that I want to use) it won't work smiley for :erm:. Also, my sessions are messed up. In the .php file I have it set at the default (60 I think) and in the root php.ini file I have
session.gc_maxlifetime = 1440
session.use_trans_sid = 0
(just a standard installation of php5, apache, and mysql). The demo in this just sits there saying that the password is wrong when I enter the correct one.

I'm just trying to get this to work were I have some users working on a tutorials page.


PS. I Also have a copy of PHPBB and it works how it was supposed to. A "needed stuff" page similar to phpbb's would be helpful smiley for :)

cor - 11.07.08 12:45 am

I don't know what a standard installation is, if such a thing even exists, and without more in the way of real error messages, your pj troubles are also a mystery to me.

Feel free to mail me whole screeds of log output, php error messages, copies of pj, between now and when I wake up, tomorrow. If there's only a single error message, or a small amount of useful data, drop it here.

I didn't realize there was "needed stuff" for pajamas, aside from basic php4+. But there may well be. Again, more details welcome.

You've seen the readme link at the top of the page, right?

;o) Cor

ps. iirc, the latest pajamas release, currently, is inside the distro machine beta (elsewhere onsite), there are differences that may affect how the old release demo works, but pj itself works great. check the implementation in the distro machine beta.

dumpydooby - 05.12.08 6:03 am

There seems to be a bug with PAJAMAS on this system I'm using. It doesn't work on my own site where I've implemented it, and even your demo doesn't work. I don't know the details of the system I'm on, but I can give you the UserAgent value:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X 10.5; en-US; rv:1.9) Gecko/2008061004 Firefox/3.0

cor - 05.12.08 6:15 am

If you can't get even the demo to work on your site, there is clearly something very wrong. You user agent string probably has nothing to do with it. Check your php error log and note any related errors, post them here. You might also want to download debug-report.php, which will spit out all sort of useful information, let you know if php sessions are working correctly and more.

You can get that here.

Also, does the demo work for you here at If not, it's possible there's something up with your browser.

;o) Cor

dumpydooby - 06.12.08 8:58 pm

That's just the thing. I have PAJAMAS working just fine on my site. It works on every browser I've tried. The demo here on also works in every browser.

The problem that I was pointing out was only related to that specific system I was on the other night. I was in a classroom and I was trying to show PAJAMAS to a web development professor at my school. PAJAMAS didn't work on the computer that I was using (which is why I posted the UserAgent information), and I figured you should know what browser and OS I was using so that you could replicate the problem and see if you could figure out what was wrong (or you might know if there is a potential compatibility issue between MacOSX w/Firefox 3 and your script).

I'll tell you what, though. Next time I go into that classroom (which isn't often since I don't actually have any classes in there), I'll set up a test page for PAJAMAS on my site, and I'll unmask the password to see if there is an issue that stands out right away. I'll also try using one of the alternative javascript-based md5 scripts out there in cyberland.

cor - 06.12.08 9:23 pm

It's amazing how little feedback I get about pajamas, yet I keep coming across it, and recommendations for it, all over the place. No one ever thinks to mail me and say, "Hey! I got pajamas working on X server v0.x, works great. Thanks!", or anything like that. What I mean is, good to hear, ta.

As to the issue on that machine, were there any specific errors? I've noticed hits in my error log recently with FF3 looking for resources in totally the wrong place; I must check if it was on OSX, perhaps the combo has issues. Probably more useful than unmasking the password (if it changes length, the javascript part is probably working fine, probably), would be to have a peek at the session variables. See exactly what's been stored.

The debug script I mentioned in my previous post is excellent for this. I also have a session viewer script kicking around (it's not available for download (at least until I can get around to doing a safe online demo version - it has a drop-down of all available sessions, very handy)) mail me if you want a copy.

I'm curious, why were you showing to the professor? You can tell how feedback-starved I am about pj! smiley for :lol:

Another thing you might want to try is the sha1 module. I don't think it ever made it to an official pj release, but there will be a copy inside the most recent distro machine download, for sure, and elsewhere onsite.

Lastly, if other md5 scripts can slot into pajamas, that's something I'd be keen to know about! But any data you have is useful. Cheers!

;o) Cor

jdmfontz - 08.01.09 4:48 pm

This sounds neat. However, how do you get around the problem presented by G Funk?

" Re: Response to G Funk

Well G Funk, it's a mind-bender, that's for sure!

At first glance it seems reasonable to store the password as an MD5 on the server, but in reality, all we have done is replaced the password with an MD5 of itself. In other words, you could authenticate by simply knowing the MD5, just as easily as you can by knowing the actual password.
When I first put pajamas together, I wrestled with this for some time! "

For this to work you would need to md5 a random string along with the password. But them how do you get the server to know what that is?

This is where PKI comes useful. Client uses server public key to create the hash, server opens hash with private key, etc.

cor - 18.01.09 6:00 pm

I believe I already answered that.

;o) Cor

Chris - 30.01.10 5:43 pm

I LOVE your pajamas! This is a very well thought out and useful script. Of course I found this a day after I figured out that you can use http auth with an SSL certificate to encrypt your password while it travels over the network =p

Why is it that the simple demo fails but the regular demo does not?

I added a php.ini with the following to /demo/, /demo/inc/, and /demo/inc/pajamas/ too no avail...

session.use_trans_sid = 0

Any idears?

Ensure you aren't manually setting php_value I have seen this interfere with some installations. ;o) Cor

Will - 01.03.10 3:09 am

A bit of a newb question, but I got here from a google search on htpasswd.

Is there any way to protect a Directory using pajamas, the way you would with .htaccess+.htpasswd?

The readme was a little more technical than my level. Thx!

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lower-case elle, Upper-Case Dbl-U, wun, lower-case ex, Upper-Case See


Welcome to!

Since switching hosts (I hope you are alright, Ed! Wherever you are …) quite a few things seems to be wonky.

Juggling two energetic boys (of very different ages) on Coronavirus lockdown, I'm unlikely to have them all fixed any time soon. Mail me! to prioritise!